DSI to probe former pay-TV football service CTH

DSI to probe former pay-TV football service CTH

CTH lured plenty of customers with entertainment packages but nothing sold the public on the former pay-TV service like Premier League football. (Bangkok Post file photo)
CTH lured plenty of customers with entertainment packages but nothing sold the public on the former pay-TV service like Premier League football. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is launching an inquiry into CTH Public Company Limited after a cable television association accused the firm of engaging in share speculation and deceiving its shareholders.

CTH Plc, formerly known as Cable Thai Holding Public Company Limited, was a Thai pay-TV operator and internet broadband services provider before it filed for bankruptcy and applied for rehabilitation with the Central Bankruptcy Court in July last year.

The service was best known for its Premier League broadcasts, after it bought exclusive rights out from under True, now True Visions.

The Thailand Cable TV Association brought 100 members to the DSI Monday and asked the department to investigate the CTH executives for alleged share speculation. The members are also shareholders in CTH.

Sumet Lonsut, the association's legal consultant, said the firm has committed legal breaches, including recapitalising shares using other people's trading accounts and manipulating share prices to create a false impression about the volumes and prices of shares traded on the stock market.

According to Mr Sumet, the firm claimed major investors had offered to buy the firm's shares, which subsequently caused share prices to go up. This boosted the firm's favourable standing, which drew more people to buy 190 million shares in the company, incurring a loss of 1.9 billion baht to the share buyers in a speculative share trade.

Mr Sumet also alleged the money gained from the share sale had been wired to the CTH's account. Shortly afterward, about two billion baht was taken out of the CTH's account and transferred to seven companies. The companies were not operating a business and all had the same address as that of CTH, according to Mr Sumet.

Later, CTH announced it was running up large-scale losses and sought business rehabilitation.

The seven companies had claimed CTH was their debtor, owing them more than 10 billion baht in total.

He said it was believed CTH's assets had been misappropriated causing losses to the shareholders.

When CTH filed for business rehabilitation with the court last year, it claimed it was overwhelmed by a debt of more than 21 billion baht while it held assets worth nine billion baht.

In its rehabilitation plan, the company told the court it was switching to investment in a biomass power plant.

However, the court rejected the plan, saying CTH lacked experience in the power plant business and was unlikely to turn in a profit.

CTH executives were not available for comment.

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